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Ben C's story

11th April 2016

A chance visit to the pharmacist alerted Ben’s mum Rhoda, from Wrexham, to the possibility her 2-year-old son had meningitis, when she picked up one of our signs and symptoms cards there. Rhoda’s prompt action in getting back to hospital helped to save Ben’s life

Ben C's story

She tells their story here

“Ben had just turned 2 when he caught meningitis. He had a temperature of 39.9, was vomiting and screaming when we moved him. We took him to out of hours doctors as it was a Saturday. She diagnosed an ear infection and prescribed Calpol and sent us home.

“We stopped at the chemist to get Calpol, and while we were there, I saw a tiny credit card sized checklist for meningitis, and my heart started pounding. He had eight out ten symptoms. Some I'd never heard of before, such as blank staring expression and cold hands and feet.

“We took him to the children's ward, and were told that we needed to go through A&E to be admitted. The nurse then looked at him and said bring him through. A locum doctor came in, looked and said: ‘He's okay, just an infection, you sit with me, we will do a history and the nurses can make him more comfortable.’

‘Don’t worry – we have this’

“He gave them instructions in between taking a history. When we finished he said ‘before you turn around, let me just tell you that Ben has some iv's in and a catheter – don’t worry, we have this.’

“He wasn't lying either, Ben had drips and monitors. My legs went from under me. The doctor came around later and told me that he could see Ben had meningitis straight away, but as I was also seven months pregnant, he didn't want to stress me out more.

“He had taken a swab from his throat which showed that it was meningitis B.

“After a stay in hospital, Ben came home. That's when it became apparent to us that he wasn't the toddler we took into hospital. He was angry, in his own world and hated being touched.

Struggled, but we were lucky

“I struggled with this for a long time, until I came to realise that at least he came home, so many others didn't, and we were so so lucky!

“I've never ever seen anything take hold the way that meningitis did.

“Ben is 16 now, just in the middle of his GCSEs and already has an A in physics. He is taking an additional maths GCSE, a BTEC level 3 in engineering, and is predicted an A* in maths. He gained a place in the second round for an apprenticeship at Airbus and will be taking his BTEC Level 3 in engineering in college from September.

“I can tell you minute by minute every event that happened around that day, it will never leave us, and I'm glad, it shouldn't leave us. What happened changed who he is. But during a charity walk for Meningitis Now, I heard heartbreaking stories - we were lucky.

“But luck shouldn't come into it; there is a vaccine!”